MEARES, John (c.1756-1809). Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North West coast of America... an introductory narrative of a voyage performed in 1786, from Bengal, in the Ship Nootka. London: Logographic Press, sold by J. Walter, 1790. 4° (288 x 236 mm). 5pp. subscribers' list, 28 engraved plates, coastal profiles and maps (10 folding or double-page), after T. Stothard, J. Wells and others. (Light offsetting and staining, some plates more heavily affected by browning, tiny marginal tear to 1.G2, large marginal chip to 1.F4, paper-flaws with associated small holes to Gg2 and Uu4, the latter affecting a few letters, a few other tiny tears to folds of a few plates, plate 'Views of the Land on the Philipine Islands' repaired.) Contemporary speckled calf, rebacked (extremities lightly rubbed, corners bumped). Provenance: James Martin (19th-century armorial bookplate) -- ?Free Library (erased ink stamp to verso of folding plate 'Land in Cook's River').
FIRST EDITION OF THIS IMPORTANT WORK which details both of Meares' voyages to north-west America from Asia. The first, undertaken in 1786-1787, sailed from Calcutta and overwintered in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Many of the crew died from scurvy, until relieved by George Dixon and Nathaniel Portlock. 'THIS IS ONE OF THE EARLY AND FUNDAMENTAL BOOKS ON THE NORTHWEST COAST AMERICA in general and on Alaska in particular' (Lada-Mocarski). 'Meare's voyages resulted in the Nootka Sound affair between Britain and Spain, and were the foundation of Britain's claim to Oregon, later ceded to the United States' (Abbey). Various bibliographies call for differing numbers of plates. The present copy with 28 plates conforms to the Frank S. Streeter copy and the majority recorded at auction. Abbey Travel 594; Cordier Sinica 2103; Forbes 201; Hill 1126; Howes M-469; Lada-Mocarski 46; Sabin 47260 (26 plates).